Reality Training: Responding to an inmate medical emergency

Do you think these officers' tactics led to the inmate's death, or were they right in their restraint methods?


By C1 Staff

After a mentally ill inmate punched an officer, responding units held the man to a bed in a sitting position while attempting to restrain him.

In the video provided, there are six officers present -- four standing and watching as two officers hold Joshua Messier down, with one on top of the inmate's back. According to the inmate's attorneys, the officer on Messier's was pushing down on him, causing him to suffocate.

The officers in the video defended their actions, claiming that Messier was struggling and spitting during the restraining process. According to the officer who was sitting on Messier's back, he "wanted to keep Messier in a seated position so he would not fall back and hurt himself while still handcuffed."

Check out the video below and then join in the conversation.

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  1. What are some tactics that are designed to reduce the need for have officer(s) to apply pressure on an inmate’s chest during sitting / ground stabilization?
  2. What does “current” research say about what has been described as Positional Asphyxia in terms of whether it results in a life threatening medical emergencies?
  3. What do your agency’s policies require you to do during / after stabilizing and/or restraining an inmate?
  4. What have you been trained to do if an inmate has a medical emergency?
  5. What are the some “best practices” for monitoring and providing medical care for an inmate after the restraining and/or applying restraints to an inmate?
  6. How important is documenting the after-care provided after during /after an inmate experiences a medical emergency?

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